17 February 2006

Widow has no faith in inquiry


The wife of a man murdered over 30 years ago by the British army has said she has no faith that his killers will be brought to justice by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

Ardoyne woman Alice Logan, who was married to Eddie Sharpe when he was gunned down at his door by the British army in March 1973, said she would refuse to cooperate with any new probe led by the PSNI.
“How I am going to get justice if the state is investigating the state? I want no part or parcel of it, and I won’t be cooperating,” Alice said.
“33 years ago Eddie was murdered. All the evidence was there, but it was all covered up by the British army and the RUC. Why do they want to know now, 33 years later? It’s a political stunt through and through to me.”
The HET has been up and running for just under a month now and it has been tasked with revisiting over 3,000 unsolved murders from 1969 until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Justice campaign groups such as An Fhrinne, Relatives For Justice and the Ardoyne Commemoration Project (ACP) are against the idea of the state investigating the state.
Alice and Eddie got married in December 1965 and they had had four children together, one of whom died at birth. On March 12. 1973 Alice’s world changed forever.
“I remember the night Eddie was shot we were making the tea before we went to bed. It’s amazing I still remember every little detail.
“Eddie went out to the front door and he called me out to look at the moon. I said to him to hold on a minute. I was just setting down his tea to go out when the next thing I heard was a shot. I called Eddie’s name three times but there was no answer. I thought, he doesn’t hear me, so I went out to the front door and Eddie was lying there dead, with his hands still in his pockets.”
Eddie had been shot dead by a British army sniper stationed at a nearby observation post. The British army later alleged that Eddie was a gunman pointing a rifle at them from his garden. But at the inquest it was admitted that Eddie wasn’t a gunman.
Alice and her children never received an apology.
At the time, Holy Cross priest Fr Myles Kavanagh launched a civil investigation into Eddie’s murder.
It was later called off after eyewitness Sean Murphy was shot and the inquiry was deemed too dangerous to continue.
In the ACP’s book, Ardoyne: The Untold Truth, Fr Myles said he believed it was the Paras that shot Sean Murphy.
“The state was not amenable. (We) agreed that if witnesses were going to be shot then it couldn’t go on,” he said in the book.
30 years on, Fr Myles said he believed that people had to make up their own mind about the HET team.
He joined the parish of Holy Cross as a priest in 1961 – he turned 70 last November.
“There’s a lot of people who are over it, have already dealt with the past. For some people they desperately need it [the truth],” the Holy Cross priest said.
“It can be devastating to have to relive it when you don’t want to.”
ACP spokesman Tom Holland said an independent inquiry, separate from the British government, was crucial for victims.
And he labelled the establishment of the PSNI historical inquiries team as another British stalling tactic.
“The main issue for any victims group, or family, in deciding whether they should co-operate with or give support to the HET, is whether or not they believe the HET intends to fully deal with the issues of the past in an independent, objective manner,” he said.
“Our position on the HET is that it is at best a delaying tactic by the British Government in the absence of it facing up to its responsibilities on the truth recovery issue.”

Journalist:: Áine McEntee

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